CREATING OPPORTUNITY FROM A DREAM – King University Student Profile
“I always knew I was going to go to college; but I never thought I’d grow this much as a person.”
Growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, Madelynn didn’t have all that much, in terms of material things. But what they lacked in money, the family made up for in love and support. And when Madelynn showed an interest in gymnastics, her mother enrolled her in a local gym where she immediately excelled.
Madelynn was a shining star. She continued to improve and both her mother and the coaches at the gym recognized her natural talent and determination to become a successful gymnast. But the reality was that her mother simply didn’t have the money to afford the gym fees. Unbeknownst to Madelynn at the time, and due to her hard work and resolve, the gym decided to waive her fees so that she could continue to practice.
Eventually, she learned that the gym was allowing her to attend at no cost because they believed in her. This was her shot, and she understood that being able to frequent the gym was a privilege and she never took it for granted. Madelynn might not have had the money like the other kids – but her ambition and willingness to practice, day after day, hour after hour turned out to be priceless. She learned young that nothing falls in your lap, and that opportunity is created through hard work and repetition, learning from mistakes, listening to advice, and continuously improving.
“In high school, I was at the gym 20 plus hours a week,” Madelynn said. She smiled and added, “all of my teammates back then were younger than me. Much younger than me, some as young as eight years old.” When she eventually enrolled at King and joined the Acro team; having teammates that were her age was an entirely new experience. “It was amazing to have teammates that were my age.”
Madelynn explains that she learned about the King Acro team through social media posts and reached out to the head coach at the time. The coach met with her, recognized her determination, and decided to give her a spot on the team. When asked about what King and the Acro team means to her she says, “I always knew I was going to go to college, but I never thought I’d grow this much as a person.” She said that from the moment she stepped foot on the King campus, everyone was warm and welcoming which made the transition from high school to college that much smoother.
And the small close-knit community of King was especially attractive because as Madelynn explains, “The smaller community allows you a greater chance to be a leader.” Madelynn is a senior, majoring in exercise science and studying to be an athletic trainer. She plans on attending graduate school after graduation. She looks back on her years with the Acro team with affection and says, “The seniors that came before me led the way. I want to leave the same impact on the freshman. I want to leave behind a great culture for the next generation.”
Madelynn epitomizes the kind of student that King produces – a leader that overcomes adversity and succeeds yet remains humble and grateful. King’s history of struggling against the odds and continuing to survive mirrors Madelynn’s own story of grit and perseverance. The King family is proud of her accomplishments to date, and those to come.